Full versus busy

The past couple of weeks have been very full.

And wonder-full!

We've had family staying with us and we've had four days of harvesting grapes.

But what if I had said " the past couple of weeks have been very busy".  It has such a different tone to it.

How often do you use the word "full" instead of "busy"?  Probably not very often. We so frequently hear about how everyone is so busy. Its a great excuse - "sorry, I've been busy", "I'm just so busy with..." etc.  It comes over as complaining about our life, but most of the time, we have put those things in our lives that we complain about. They are in our control.  Or maybe you are using busyness as a measure of self-worth? By using the word busy, it makes us seem like victims and that it is all out of our control..

Instead, we have filled our lives.  Our lives are full.  That sounds so rich and exciting, as opposed to saying our lives are busy.

Yes, you may be running around after your children, working, doing chores, commuting, feeding the family....but how wonderful to have a full life.

By saying our life is "full" gives a sense of pride, rather than a regret or whining when we say we are busy.  We can change things in our lives to make them quieter, we can say "no" and make adjustments, but often we want a full life.

So be proud of your full life.  Don't whine, complain and make it sound like you regret it.  Live your life to the full.

Try using the word "full" this week, instead of "busy" and see what a difference it makes.


I was interested to read an article in last week's Sunday New York Times, entitled "The Busy Trap".  The author, Tim Kreider, talks about the now typical response you get when you ask someone how they are doing - "Really busy" or "So busy".  It is said as a kind of boast, yet disguised as a complaint.

Most people, it seems, are busy.  But the majority of that busyness is self-imposed. We aren't talking about people with three jobs here, but rather people who make choices of things they want to do, alongside their work and other obligations.

It seems that part of having that busyness is that it blocks us from emptiness.  By being busy, we see our lives as being important and not trivial.  We do so much, so that has to be good.

So what about you?  Is your self worth linked to your busyness? Can you sit down and read a book and not feel guilty? Do you take a walk after dinner and look at the flowers, or lay on the lawn at night and look at the stars? Perhaps instead you are busy emailing, being a taxi service to your kids, or taking work home?  What about finding time to connect to friends?  When they call, are you just too busy?

Try it this week.  Try just not being busy for sometime of each day.  Linger over breakfast talking with the family, or read a book or do a jigsaw puzzle, or meet a friend for a drink, or..... Let's not fall into the busy trap and let our self worth be based on how busy we are.